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Last week I completed a 21-day wellness immersion — a three week mind/body journey guided by the lovely women of Power Yoga of Cape Cod. The program consisted of plant-based eating, daily yoga and meditation, and a three day juice cleanse. To say I feel refreshed and renewed is an understatement. I feel alive, joyful, light, and clear. My sleep improved tremendously. I woke up naturally each morning, an hour earlier than usual, filled with vibrancy. Throughout the program I felt a sweet cheerfulness that softened each day.
I’ve been doing similar types of mind/body resets at least twice a year since 2013 when I first tried The Clean Program. In May of that year, in just three short weeks, the program cured me from chronic upper back and shoulder pain, frequent headaches, a lingering ache in my right knee that had ailed me for years, and freed me from the shadow of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. I discovered a lighter, sharper, empowered sense of self, reignited creative ideas, and had a clear vision for my future — everything felt new, exciting, possible.
To have such a profound reaction simply by changing your diet may seem a bit far-fetched but make no mistake there is hidden healing power in sun energy rich foods, and our bodies – while each different in their own way – respond to that sun energy in a miraculous manner. The Clean Program is an elimination diet that helps you identify your “toxic triggers.” For three weeks you remove red meat, grains, dairy, refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine, eggs, corn, soy, and all processed foods. You reintroduce foods one-by-one to discover which are making you ill. Along the way the body goes through a natural rebalancing and begins to heal itself as inflammation is reduced and proper pH is restored.
I felt so incredible after my initial experience with The Clean Program that I remained on it for the fifteen months that followed. Then I met the Sergeant. Courtship is such a sweet and sacred space that defies time and routine. You float together, high above the world, in a place of whimsy, but nothing brings you crashing down to earth quicker than ordering lettuce every time you sit down to eat. So within a matter of weeks, once again I was back to regular eating — burgers, ice cream, you name it.
About a year after we married I decided to do The Clean Program again and ever since have been completely off of caffeine, gluten/grains, soy, processed foods and have limited intake of dairy, sugar, and corn. For the second time in my life, after eliminating and reintroducing foods once at a time, the results were clear. Dairy gave me brain fog, corn took all the color out of my skin, sugar made me irritable. The list goes on and on. The program is so liberating because you see in real time the direct connection between food and your mood, energy levels, and physical state.
After seeing the positive effect it had on me, Pat cut caffeine, gluten/grains, and corn from his diet. We are not restrictive or cerebral about our eating — we still enjoy gluten free homemade cookies, scones, lasagna or a good steak — but everything we put in our bodies is the highest quality, natural, freshest, organic, and locally sourced product we can find. We enjoy the pleasure food brings by consciously making time to create wholesome, nutritious, and delicious meals. When we sit down to eat we do so mindfully with no TV, phones, or computers nearby and with the intention to relax into a long, leisurely, luxurious gourmet experience.
When you eat clean your palate becomes so much more refined. Instead of food being fuel you gobble down in between living, it becomes a flavorful gateway that leads you to a new level of existence. Eating becomes a conscious state of pleasure and nourishment where you recognize the interplay between your body and sun energy, experienced through things fruits, vegetables, plants, nuts, and seeds. As you release from the highs and lows of sugar binging, caffeine addiction, the effect of unhealthy fats and processed foods, and frequent alcohol intake, you no longer swing between an artificial hyper or overly exhausted state of being. Eating a balanced, whole foods diet brings sustained blood sugar levels and a grounded state of being.
Put simply, in my opinion, food is the answer for so much that ails us — the ticket to optimizing brain power, maintaining physical strength and movement, and discovering new levels of endurance, creativity, and ease-filled lightness of spirit. Once the chemicals, additives, pesticides, hormones, and refined sugars are peeled away, the body is able to heal itself, reach its natural state and function in ways you never imagined possible. As my French grandmother used to say, À votre santé!
The information and other content provided in this blog is not intended to be and should not be construed as medical advice. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.